12 Pet Turtle Species That Keep Small (with Footage)

red eared slider turtles

Turtles make wonderful pets, are extremely cute, simple to look after, and extra interactive than different pets like fish. However turtle lovers typically want that their big turtles might return to being tiny cute pets (not that being huge adjustments that, although).

Whereas it’s true that turtles require much less work than canines and cats, small child turtles that develop huge shortly will be laborious to handle. Additionally, massive turtles outgrow your laps and their habitats, requiring you to exchange their tanks so usually.

Fortunately, nature has supplied turtle breeds that keep small eternally so that you can select from. Learn on and uncover!

The 12 Pet Turtles That Keep Small

1. Pink Eared Slider Turtle

red eared slider in water_Piqsels
Picture Credit score: Piqsels
  • Lifespan: 20-40 years
  • Measurement: 6-12 inches
  • Tank Measurement: 50 gallons
  • Value: $20-$50

Pink Eared Slider turtles originated from North America, and they’re some of the frequent turtles stored as pets. Nonetheless, what units these reptiles other than the remainder are their notable crimson patches round their ears, giving them the “crimson eared” identify and look.

One advantage of this pet is that it’s hardy and leans on the low-maintenance aspect greater than different turtles. They nonetheless want work and dedication as the opposite breeds, although.

Pink Eared Sliders are primarily omnivorous, which signifies that you received’t run out of feeding choices. Additionally, they’re brightly coloured and dislike a lot dealing with.

2. Noticed Turtles

spotted turtle_Piqsels
Picture Credit score: Piqsels
  • Lifespan: 26-50 years
  • Measurement: 3-5 inches
  • Tank Measurement: 20 to 33-gallon
  • Value: $75-$100

Yow will discover Noticed turtles in Southeastern Canada and the Northeastern United States. They’re eye-catching and small pets, measuring simply 5 inches lengthy.

Noticed Turtles get their identify from the yellow-cream coloured spots masking their black or dark-brown heads and shells. It’s possible you’ll discover some with crimson, orange, or yellow spots on their bellies as nicely.

Turtles detest being handles, however not the noticed species. These reptiles are even-tempered and revel in being dealt with.

Noticed turtles are each newbie’s dream turtle pet!

3. Mud Turtles

Picture Credit score: Pixabay
  • Lifespan: 25-50 years
  • Measurement: As much as 5 inches
  • Tank Measurement: 75-gallon
  • Value: $60-$120

The checklist can be incomplete with out Mud turtles, which develop solely as much as 4-5 inches lengthy when adults. Mud turtles are native to Africa, Mexico, and a few elements of North America.

There are 4 Mud turtle species, with the well-known Mud and Stripped Mud turtles being about 4.5 inches in maturity.

The opposite two, Yellow Mud and Sonoran Mud turtles, develop as much as six inches at instances. And no, the identify doesn’t imply that their enclosures will likely be muddy.

4. Musk Turtle

musk turtle_Vince Adam_Shutterstock
Picture Credit score: Vince Adam, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 40-60 years
  • Measurement: 3-4 inches
  • Tank Measurement: 20 to 29-gallon
  • Value: $30-$85

Musk turtles are often small, with the females being smaller than the males. You possibly can largely discover them in japanese elements of North America.

Not like most turtles, the Musks don’t like brackish water or water whose saline ranges are between freshwater and seawater. These reptiles additionally burrow within the mud throughout winter.

Musk turtles are ardent climbers, so look out for them should you preserve them in an aquarium. They’ll simply climb out of their tanks.

This turtle is unquestionably the most suitable choice if you need a pet that stays small eternally and may stay as much as 60 years!

5. Reeve’s Turtle

reeves turtle_Felix Wolf_Pixabay
Picture Credit score: Felix Wolf, Pixabay
  • Lifespan: 10-20 years
  • Measurement: 4-9 inches
  • Tank Measurement: 50-gallon
  • Value: $50-$80

It’s possible you’ll know Reeve’s turtle because the Chinese language Pong turtle. These turtle species are widespread within the pet world, particularly in China, Japan, and Taiwan.

Reeve’s turtles desire nonetheless or slow-moving water equivalent to lakes, ponds, and streams with plenty of vegetation and basking spots.

Though these reptiles won’t be as colourful (they’re primarily black or darkish grey) as others on the checklist, turtle fanciers adore them for his or her charming, docile demeanors. Plus, they keep small eternally!

It’s possible you’ll need to keep watch over their shells, although. It is because these turtles are susceptible to varied ailments that present on the shells.

6. Lavatory Turtle

bog turtle_Jay Ondreicka_Shutterstock
Picture Credit score: Jay Ondreicka, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 20-30 years
  • Measurement: 3-4 inches
  • Tank Measurement: 40-gallon
  • Value: $250-$450

You possibly can’t discuss of tiny pet turtles that keep tiny eternally with out mentioning little Bogs. The longest Lavatory turtle solely measures as much as 4 inches lengthy! Their small sizes have made them extremely widespread within the U.S, particularly amongst rookies.

Yow will discover these reptiles close to swamps and marshes within the Japanese U.S. You can even discover some grazing in moist fields amongst cattle.

Little Bogs are often black or darkish brown with a yellow band round their necks.

7. The Desert Field

The desert box turtle_Creeping Things_Shutterstock
Picture Credit score: Creeping Issues, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 30-50 years
  • Measurement: 4-5 inches
  • Tank Measurement: 30 to 50-gallon
  • Value: $50-$400

Desert Field turtles are breaking the narrative that turtle lovers residing in dry environments can not personal such pets. Not like most turtle breeds, Desert Field species don’t want excessive humidity. Additionally, they stay longer and are well-known for his or her yellowish shade.

Desert Field turtles are one of many two subspecies of Terrapene Ornata turtles. Sadly, they are often fairly expensive to purchase as their costs go as excessive as $400.

8. Florida Softshell Turtle

Florida softshell_Andy Lidstone_Shutterstock
Picture Credit score: Andy Lidstone, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 20-30 years
  • Measurement: 6-12 inches(male)
  • Tank Measurement: 125-gallon
  • Value: $15 to $40

You possibly can guess from the identify that these turtles are native to the state of Florida. Florida Softshells are almost totally aquatic, though you will discover them on land typically.

In order for you a turtle that’s a little bit out of the abnormal, discover Florida Softshell. Because the identify suggests, these reptiles lack one characteristic frequent in virtually all turtles-a laborious shell. As an alternative, they’re flat, with pores and skin masking the shell, making them resemble pancakes.

It’s possible you’ll need to go for a male Florida Softshell Turtle, although. The reason being, women and men range considerably within the dimension vary.

The males keep small eternally, at round six inches, whereas the females are huge and hulking and may develop as much as 1.5 ft!

9. Diamondback Terrapins

Diamondback terrapin_Jay Ondreicka_Shutterstock
Picture Credit score: Jay Ondreicka, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 25-40 years
  • Measurement: 5-7 inches
  • Tank Measurement: 75-gallons
  • Value: $200-$450

You’ll discover out that Diamondback Terrapins should not as small because the listed turtles, however they’re nonetheless thought of small turtle breeds. The males measure as much as 5 inches, with females measuring as much as 7 inches.

Diamondback Terrapins are hardy, though they’re vulnerable to fungal infections and shell ailments. You’ll must put in further time and area of their care (they fall on the higher spectrum of small-sized turtles).

10. Razorback Musk Turtle

razorback musk turtle_Ryan M. Bolton_Shutterstock
Picture Credit score: Ryan M. Bolton, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 20-25 years
  • Measurement: 5-6 inches
  • Tank Measurement: 30-gallon
  • Value: $25-$100

Musk turtles are usually small, and as laborious as it’s to consider, the Razorback is the largest of all of them. This breed is nearly totally aquatic, though it involves bask within the solar sometimes.

Razorback Musks are shy and don’t chunk or get aggressive. Nonetheless, they’d desire should you didn’t deal with them and solely watched them from a distance.

And, they’re a delight to look at, particularly as a result of they will stroll alongside the tank’s backside effortlessly.

11. African Sideneck Turtle

African side neck turtle_Megan Czarnocki, Shutterstock
Picture Credit score: Megan Czarnocki, Shutterstock
  • Lifespan: 25-50 years
  • Measurement: 7-12 inches
  • Tank Measurement: 75-gallon
  • Value: $50-$100

The African Sideneck is straightforward to take care of and thrives in captivity. This turtle has a contagious smile, because of their mouths that curve upwards in a “smile.”

African Sideneck turtles are native to the freshwater rivers and lakes of Africa and Madagascar. They’re uniquely cute and boast the power to make their heads flip sideways.

These reptiles are a sight to behold, primarily after they use their lengthy necks to flip themselves over when they’re on their backs.

12. Yellow-Bellied Slider

Yellow-Bellied Slider_Chikilino, Pixabay
Picture Credit score: Chikilino, Pixabay
  • Lifespan: 30-40 years
  • Measurement: 5-13 inches
  • Tank Measurement: 75-100 gallons
  • Value: $25-$75

Right here’s one other small and long-lived pet turtle that’s an amazing addition to any family. Yellow-Bellied Sliders are intently associated to Pink Eared Sliders and are simply as colourful.

You possibly can distinguish this reptile by its varied shell colours, together with inexperienced, brown, and black with yellow stripes. Its stomach is often stable yellow with black markings, thus the identify.

This slider tends to be extra lively throughout daytime, the place in addition they spend more often than not basking. Additionally, it doesn’t like a lot dealing with.

You get this pet, and also you’ll have a small, amiable, and never so needy pet in your house for a very long time.



Turtles are usually low upkeep, however conserving and caring for big and overgrown turtles isn’t so simple as it appears. You’ll want to alter their tanks extra usually, which is dear and an excessive amount of work.

Get your self a pet that may keep small eternally, and probably the most hassle you’ll be able to go to is to make sure it’s well-fed and thriving. So, which one is your favourite!

Featured Picture Credit score: Piqsels

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